July 29, 2009
On July 28, Democracy Now reported that an active member of Students for a Democratic Society and Port Militarization Resistance in Washington state was an informant for the Pentagon. The man known as “John Jacob” was in fact John Towery, a member of the Force Protection Service at Fort Lewis, a fact confirmed by the base’s public affairs office. “This could be one of the key revelations of this era,” Eileen Clancy, who has closely tracked government spying on activist organizations, told Democracy Now.
In fact, it is further evidence of the continuation of a pattern established decades ago. The FBI, military intelligence, state police not only infiltrated and sabotaged the anti-war and civil rights movements, in many instances they ran them.
In Columbia, South Carolina, an undercover agent served as co-chair of an SDS chapter. At the University of Texas, an undercover operative worked his way up to the chairmanship of the SDS. In Chicago, undercover agents from the local “Red Squad” infiltrated the SDS at Northwestern University, led a sit-in in 1968, and actively participated in a violent 1969 Weatherman action. “Chicago undercover operatives provided explosives to the Weatherman, encouraged them to shoot police, and led an assault upon a uniformed police sergeant during a demonstration,” an incident used by the corporate media at the time to demonize the so-called New Left, according to author Geoffrey R. Stone (Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime, p. 490).
The Pentagon considered its war against the American people so important it established the Directorate for Civil Disturbance Planning and Operations in 1969 at the Department of Defense, staffed “by some 180 people and packed with all the latest equipment -data processing machines, closed circuit television, teletype networks, elaborate situation maps-the new operation was a marvel of military technology,” write Morton Halperin, Jerry Berman, Robert Borosage, Christine Marwick (The Lawless State: The crimes of the U.S. Intelligence Agencies, Penguin Books, 1976). “In the fall of 1968, there were more Army Counter-intelligence Analysis Branch personnel assigned to monitor domestic citizen protests than were assigned to any other counter-intelligence operation in the world, including Southeast Asia and the Vietnam War.”
The army established CONUS and CONARC intelligence commands and reorganized and reinitiated them as USAINTC, the Directorate of Civil Disturbance Planning, and the Division of Military Support. They ran operations with such code names as Garden Plot, Rose Bush, Punch Block, Steep Hill, Lantern Spike, Quiet Town, Gram Metric, and Cable Splicer.
Garden Plot provided an outline for standardized procedures to be used for handling civil disturbances by the National Guard, regular armed forces (in violation of Posse Comitatus), and civilian authorities. The illegal operation trained troops for possible deployment.
Garden Plot eventually described “tax protesters, militia groups, religious cults, and general anti-government dissenters as Disruptive Elements,” according to. Annex A, section B of Operation Garden Plot calls for “deadly force to be used against any extremist or dissident perpetrating any and all forms of civil disorder.” The Department of Homeland Security’s recently revealed report on “rightwing extremism” expands “disruptive elements” to include returning veterans and modern patriot groups.
Operation Garden Plot is a subprogram of Rex 84 (Readiness Exercise 1984, Exercise Plan, otherwise known as a continuity of government plan). Rex-84 Alpha Explan “indicates that FEMA in association with 34 other federal civil departments and agencies, along with other NATO nations, conducted a civil readiness exercise during April 5-13, 1984. It was conducted in coordination and simultaneously with a Joint Chiefs exercise, Night Train 84, a worldwide military command post exercise (including Continental U.S. Forces or CONUS) based on multi-emergency scenarios operating both abroad and at home. In the combined exercise, Rex-84 Bravo, FEMA and DOD led the other federal agencies and departments, including the Central Intelligence Agency, the Secret Service, the Treasury, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Veterans Administration through a gaming exercise to test military assistance in civil defense,” notes Diana Reynolds.
FEMA’s latest iteration of REX 84 and Operation Garden Plot is NLE 09, now underway.
“The militarization of domestic ‘law enforcement’ is founded, in part, upon Department of Defense Directive 5525.5, DoD Cooperation with Civilian Law Enforcement Officials, dated January 15, 1986,”Frank Morales wrote in 1999. “In addition, ‘the Military Departments and Defense Agencies may provide training to Federal, State, and local civilian law enforcement officials.’”
Christopher Pyle, a former army intelligence officer, revealed the scope of the military’s domestic intelligence activities in the January 1970 issue of the Washington Monthly, charging that “the Army had assembled the essential apparatus of a police state.” Several earlier evaluations within the army had expressed “reservations” about the programs or judged them unnecessary and out of control, but it took the Pyle article and widespread public pressure to curb the growth of army spying on American citizens, note the authors of The Lawless State: The crimes of the U.S. Intelligence Agencies (p. 168).
Democracy Now’s revelation of the Pentagon infiltrating Students for a Democratic Society and Port Militarization Resistance in Washington state is but another example of how the government has continued — and significantly accelerated — its efforts to not only destroy legitimate and lawful protest in the United States, but eventually target dissidents, as detailed in United States Civil Disturbance Plan 55-2.
The Pentagon is currently training the military that dissent is a form of treason and low-level terrorism. In June, Infowars reported on a multiple choice question included on a Level 1 Antiterrorism Awareness training course required for all DoD personnel that posits the following question: “Which of the following is an example of low-level terrorist activity?” The correct answer is “protests.”
“Such indoctrination and brainwashing will make it easier for soldiers and DHS paramilitaries — including ‘public-private partnership’ (fascist) shock troops such as InfraGard and soon enough Obama’s ‘public service’ Jugendbewegung — to not only round-up and intern dissidents but shoot them down in numbers as they were shot down in their millions by Stalin and Mao in the blood-soaked 20th century,” we wrote at the time.